Update from 49er FX sailor Frances Peters
Soon after we met, we drove out for a week’s training camp in Lake Garda. A normal day looked something like this: a morning session, launching at 7am to make the most of the morning Northerly, before heading back in when the wind died to do a few hours’ boat prep and retreating to some shade. We then launched again in the notorious Southerly ‘Aura’ breeze in the afternoon which can build to up to around 30 knots and is what makes Garda as famous a sailing venue as it is. The idea of these 2 sessions at different times of day was to get to grips with the venue in all possible conditions, enabling us to build up a ‘call book’ for the actual event and start to gain some local knowledge of the area.
The event itself was full on, with the wind increasing throughout the week. ‘BIG Thursday’ brought so much wind that only 50% of the fleet managed to finish. It was hard work but an invaluable learning experience and really put all our training of the last 18 months to the test. It paid off though and we got 1st girls overall, which was what was required of us to qualify for the squad going forward into the next Olympic cycle in this new ladies Skiff class; the 49er FX. As a result we have been the first pair of 4 to officially qualify for the squad.
With all attention being understandably focused on the Olympics, however, we are still waiting for details of how the programme will be run. My attention has been on trying to prepare myself as best I can to go forward into the squad when things get started. I am in the process of selling my RS800 that I have been sailing for the last 18 months with Nicola Groves and buying a 49er hull. The rigs are new and not available to anyone in the world yet, but the first four will arrive in the UK this weekend, of which we will be getting one. So things should really start to get going in the next couple of weeks and I am really looking forward to getting my teeth into the next Olympic cycle after being lucky enough to work on one of the BBC boats at the Games last week.
Nicola and I are currently the lightest pairing, and are likely to be too light for the FX. It is therefore likely that we will be going our separate ways in the near future. It may be that we, and others, can make the most of this situation to sail with different people a bit and start to establish the best team for the long term. Nothing is definite in terms of our approach just yet, though so watch this space…
Frances Peters is 21 and has just graduated from Warwick University and is now sailing full time, working towards Rio 2016 in the new 49er FX class. Peters went through the RYA Youth and Junior squads whilst at school, and won Gold at the ISAF youth worlds in 2008. Since then she has been in the Olympic Transition Squad for the 3 years that she was studying, first in the 470 and then in the RS800 for the past 18 months leading up to the introduction of the 49er FX.
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